There are 50 species of cyathostomins (small strongyles) and a single horse can harbor many species at the same time. These are ubiquitous parasites of horses, and the targets of oral paste deworming programs. Most studies of cyathostomins have considered them as a single group, and not much is known about the biology and ecophysiology of individual species. We are interested to know whether there are differences between cyathostomin species with respect to reproductive rates and sensitivity to climate factors. These differences will inform models of geographic distribution and survivorship of cyathostomins. Understanding these differences could provide insights into regional or seasonal management strategies to better control these parasites.
Common practices of regular deworming all horses at farms for the past decades have selected for resistant cyathostomins for all of the available oral products. We are working to identify differences between worm species in sensitivity to dewormers and whether different species recover at equal rates following deworming treatment. These experiments will help to refine our understanding of mechanisms of dewormer resistance in cyathostomins, leading to the development of more targeted (and more effective) strategies.